January 2017 Travels in Review

New Year's Eve 2017 with Brad & PiaJanuary 2017 Travels in Review

This monthly review will be short and sweet – simply put, January was a complete non-travel month for me!

In fact, I was almost entirely housebound the whole month. That was the result of two main factors. First off, I was sick with bronchitis the first two weeks of January. The remaining weeks I was crazy-busy creating my new photography website, LashA Photography, which I finally completed and launched in early February. Yeah!

Another reason I was ‘stuck’ in a house was that I was pet-sitting for my mom & step-dad for two weeks while they ventured to Thailand to attend my brother and sister-in-law’s formal Thai wedding.

moms houseTalk about irony, even double irony – There I was sitting at home while my entire family was out on a world travel adventure! Ha! That’s a first. Secondly, after probably a total of six years of my life living, working and traveling around Thailand (and being half the reason my brother ended up with a Thai wife) when it came to their wedding time I couldn’t attend! Crap.

On the bright side though, I took advantage of my downtime to catch up with LashWorldTour, create my photo site, play with Blackie the cat and watch a lot of great movies on Netflix. All good!

toasting my Florida visit with a frozen mojito

toasting my Florida visit with a frozen mojito

The only disappointing aspect of being sick and having so much computer work was that I couldn’t get any exercise. No more cycling, visiting Florida’s gorgeous beaches or otherwise keeping fit. Most of the month I could barely manage a few strolls around the neighborhood between wheezing and editing photos. Sigh.

Luckily that sort of inactivity is just temporary and I’m sure to be back on my feet, with full-charge energy soon.

As for LashWorldTour, in January I took advantage of being in Florida to feature several posts about St Pete and the Sunshine State that I had written during previous visits. I also wrote my usual annual round-ups of my best photo galleries, travel stories and travel tips from 2016.

I also continued my regular FB updates.

Following are the new articles I wrote, the archived articles I featured and the FB updates I published in January.

Meanwhile, this month (February) I’ve finally hit the road again, off on another one full year (or more) of world travels. I’m currently writing from Mexico City, where I’ll be exploring for two weeks before heading westward to slowly explore several other interesting Mexican towns and cities in Central Mexico and the Pacific Coast.

Stay tuned for regular FB updates and new travel tips, stories and photos from Mexico and beyond!

New Articles on LashWorldTour in January

My 2017 Travel and Blogging Plans

2017 will be another full year of world travels for me…

I’ll also be focusing quite seriously on photography, so expect a lot more images of stunning scenery, intriguing cultures and gorgeous cities & towns as I travel…

To find out what I’ll be up to this year, read on –


My 10 Best Photo Galleries of 2016

Every year-end I look back on my year of travels and all my articles and photos to select my very best travel tips, stories, perspectives and photo galleries to share with you in a round-up post. That way you can get right to the most interesting, informative and inspirational travel material of the year on LashWorldTour.

For this chilled-out week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, I give you my 10 Best Photo Galleries from 2016. They include photos of nature, cities, culture and native people in Guatemala, Belize, Puerto Rico and Mexico. I hope they help inspire you to get out and travel!


My Best Travel Stories & Perspectives of 2016

Here are all my insights on Mexico, Belize and Guatemala from one full year of travels through the region.

If you’re heading there, check out my perspectives and experiences. You might be surprised what you’ll find there!

READ My Best Travel Stories

Coba Pyramid - Mayan ruins - MexicoMy Best Travel Tips of 2016

2016 saw me travel quite slowly but thoroughly through Mexico, Belize and Puerto Rico.

As a result, most of my travel tips for the year featured these destinations. I also wrote several tips about Guatemala, which I explored in late 2015, just before arriving in Belize.

If you’re heading to this region of the world, consult these articles to pick my brains about costs, money saving ideas, recommended accommodations and more…

READ My Best Tips


Featured Articles from LashWorldTour archives


Featured Article: 5 Great Day Trips from Orlando

When it comes to Florida vacations, let’s face it, Orlando’s Disney World is the state’s main draw. Visitors flock there continuously from all over the globe.

While laughing it up at Orlando’s fun amusement parks can be greatly rewarding, especially with children, there usually comes the time when you need a break from all the high-adrenaline adventures and ultra-sonic noise levels. That’s the time to take a day trip out of Orlando to one of Florida’s nearby attractions…

Here are my 5 best suggestions for taking a break from a Disney vacation.



Featured Article: Chihuly Glass Collection Museum

Have you ever seen the incredible glass art by Dale Chihuly?

If not, come check out these photos of his work at the Chihuly Collection in St Pete…

Guaranteed to be astounded!



Dali Museum - St Petersburg - Florida

Dali Museum – St Petersburg – Florida

Featured Article: The Salvador Dali Museum in ST Pete, Florida. Eh!?

St Pete’s famous, world-class Dali Museum is a huge draw for international visitors as well as Americans. I was told that 50% of museum visitors report that they came to St Pete specifically for the Dali Museum!

That might sound surprising, but The Dali reportedly has the largest, most extensive collection of a single artist in the world!

But WHY is the Dali Museum in Florida, of all places?!

I investigated that very question and discovered quite an interesting story…



Featured Photos –

The Amazing Salvador Dali Museum in St Pete

In Jan. 2011 the brand new Salvador Dali Museum opened in front of St Pete’s marina on Tampa Bay.

Featuring incredible modern architecture that fits superbly well with Dali’s ecclectic art, this museum is worth visiting for the building itself, let alone the incredible art collection.

If you love modern architecture, check out my photos of Dali Museum.

SEE PHOTOS of Dali Museum


Featured Article: Would I Ever Live in the USA?

As many of you already know, I’ve been out traveling the world since 1998, and prior to that lived in Japan for 6 years.

So I’ve been traveling, living, working outside the US for over 25 years!

After all this time, would I want to return to the US to live permanently?

…and how about you, do you/would you like living in the States?



FB updates from Florida in January

Christmas table & tree 2016Travel Update Florida: Ha ha – our Christmas tree is still up!

Does anyone else still have their tree up now? If so, why?

In our case, it’s not laziness or sentimental value of the tree…

It’s because Blackie Cat loves sitting under the tree, stretching up inside the limbs and generally hanging out there.

My mom’s even thinking about leaving the tree up permanently – out on the enclosed porch, just for Blackie’s amusement!

Looks like the cat rules the house here!

Does anyone else have their tree still up?

Travel Update Florida: Drats! Struck down by a nasty cold!

Yep, the cold air and roaming viruses have struck me down this week. Sigh.

This calls for a retreat of indoor living (with central heating), hot lemon juice, lots of espresso and sitting around.

At least I can get a lot of writing and photography work done for a few days!

Has anyone else here caught the flu or a cold yet?

old French pressTravel Update Florida:

Saying good-bye to a valiant travel pal…

This week, at the turn of the new year, I finally decided it was time to let go of my wonderful ole French press coffee maker that I’ve been traveling with for over 5 years.

As you’ll see, it was very over-due to be thrown away and replaced. In fact, I did replace it in early December with a beautiful new red press. (Which some of you might remember seeing here on FB)

But I couldn’t quite abandon my faithful companion… until today. After all, it delivered me delicious coffee daily in 12 different countries, on 3 continents for 5 whole years. I sure did appreciate it!

So, thanks for your great years of service, Frenchie, and adios amigo!

thermometer - cold in FloridaTravel Update Florida: Oh, boy – COLD snap here!

Eek, over the weekend Florida was struck by temperatures as low as the 30sF!

I personally saw ’39F’ on our thermometer one early morning. That is wayyyy too cold for Florida! And for me!

Luckily, day temps haven’t been quite that bad- in the 50s and 60s…

But that still makes for some very COLD cycling! And my respiratory system does not like cold, dry air. Boo.

I even had to bundle up in my wintery parka one day!

Hopefully this cold snap will lift soon…and I can get back to tropical outdoor living again.

What are the temperatures at your place?

Travel Update Florida: I’m house & pet sitting here in Florida!

For two weeks I’m looking after my mom & step-dad’s house and cat while they are traveling… to Thailand!

Ha, ha.. roll reversal – I’m ‘at home’ and my family are out on world travels. Lol

Taking care of their home & cat is really the reason I’m here in Florida so long this time around. I came back for the Xmas holidays…and here I still am!

No worries, when they return, I’m heading out on my world travels again! Soooon…

Blackie  Travel Update Florida: Meet Blackie!

Blackie is my step-dad’s cat. I’ve known her since she was a young kitten…

Soon after he rescued Blackie from the woods of WV, I just happened to be visiting them. So I got to know Blackie when she first joined the family.

I used to ‘make’ her sleep with me every night for 1-2 months. (probably more because I liked it than her. Lol)

So no matter how long I’m gone between visits – usually a few years – Blackie always remembers me… Which is great, because she’s a scaredy cat who doesn’t like most people.

I love cats, but I have to admit that Blackie is the most finicky, un-cuddly, slightly-psycho cat I’ve ever known!

She loves to be pet – BUT only at the right time, on the right spot, for the correct amount of time, with the right pressure and movement…

If you do anything slightly wrong – BAP! She’ll suddenly strike or bite you. Hard. Yeah, she’s a bit psycho.

Forget picking her up, having her sit in your lap or holding her in any manner. Not a chance…. Just the few pats and scratches she allows. Lol

But I love Blackie all the same. She is a cat, after all.

Do you know any psycho cats? What’s their deal?

Lash - Pia - Brad at Xmas 2016Travel Update Florida: I’m missing my brother’s wedding!


My brother and his Thai wife of 4 years are finally having their formal Thai wedding back in her hometown in NE Thailand.

My mom & step-dad went over with them for the wedding.

But me?! I’m the designated house & pet sitter! Ha!

Talk about irony… After all the years I’ve spent traveling, living and working in Thailand, now I can’t afford to go over for my brother’s wedding! And it’s in great part due to all my Thai immersion that he ever started dating Thai women… and ended up marrying a wonderful Thai lady.

Too bad they didn’t do their Thai wedding while I was over there for so many years. Sigh.

I guess I’ll have to settle for photos, videos and phone chats…and knowing that at least I helped out with their trip by taking care of my mom & step-dad’s home.

Have you ever missed an important wedding? What happened?

mom's kitchen counterTravel Update Florida: There’s a lot of merit in living alone!

1. Clean counters! Wow. I simply clean them all once and… OMG- they stay clean!

2. No more TV noise pollution! What a relief not dealing with the noise of terrible news events, obnoxious medical ads, more horrible Trump updates, annoying sports games and idiotic TV series. Hurray my much soothed ears!

3. Listening to my own music! I prefer African, Indian-fusion, Thievery corporation, Manu Chao, Chili Peppers, Led Zep and a bunch of other underground music. It’s not often I meet anyone who wants to listen to that, certainly nobody in my family. Lol

4. No more dealing with changing moods, grumbling and petty arguments. Peace & tranquility!

5. Rare roast beef! …and other favorite dishes that nobody here but me seems to like.

Hmmm… maybe I should just remain single! So much easier and more peaceful.

How about you – do you see any merits in living solo? Or prefer being with people?
my birthday cake 2017 Travel Update Florida: My haute cuisine birthday weekend…

On my birthday, it’s rare that I’m in a house with a kitchen at my disposal.

So this year, while house sitting for my mom, I took full advantage of a very well-equipt kitchen to whip up some favorite treats…

  1. Eggs Benedict – my favorite all time breakfast.

  2. Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte – my very favorite cake, with an incredible name to boot

  3. Rare roast beef with roasted vegetables and baked potato. Yum

Frozen daiquiris – Yippie! I made freshh mango, strawberry and mojito daiquiris.

I also ate sushi for lunch, but I went to Tsunami Japanese Restaurant for that.

All in all, a super delicious birthday indeed!
And thanks everyone who wished me well here on FB.

–-> What’s your favorite cake in the world? How about breakfast speciality?

Bali arrivals procedures include preparing planesTravel Update Florida: I booked my flight back to Mexico!

It’s official! I will return to wonderful, fabulous Mexico in February. Yippie!

I Fly into Mexico City and will explore central Mexico and the Pacific coast this time…before heading down through ALL of Central America

My departure is still a few weeks away… but I feel mighty excited all the same, just having the flight in hand.

How about you – where and when are you traveling next?

blown out tireTravel Update Florida: Fresh Bike wreck!

My Front tire blew out.

Loud explosion, equally loud scream (me) and then I was lying in a heap on the road. Oops.

I was cycling on a quiet residential street. The explosion and scream certainly caught people’s attention! A woman ran out of her house in slippers, looking frantic, and asked if I was ok.

Then a car driving behind me pulled up to ask if I was ok and if I’d like to use his phone to call someone. Then a man walked over to ask if that driver had hit me.

Then a lovely woman named Nadine offered me a ride home! She had a bike rack on her car, so we hoisted it on and she drove me back, which was fabulous. It would have been a very long walk! Thank you, thank you!

Luckily, I only suffered two bloody scrapes and bruised palms. My bike looks like it will need a new tire, inner tube and possibly new wheel. Dag…

I must have reflexively squeezed the brakes, which is what tipped me over so hard and turned my wheel a bit sideways…

Ah, well…nothing a nice hot shower and a quick trip to the local bike shop won’t fix…

But I think I’ll go have a cocktail first… I have to admit that was a bit harrowing.

Thank you everyone who came out to check on me and to Nadine for giving me a lift. You Gulfport peeps are awesome!

Calm Belize sunset over sea in lavender

Calm Belize sunset over sea in lavender

NEWS: My new photography website is under construction!

In fact, it’s getting close to being live…

I’ve been furiously working away on this project for 3 weeks already – researching, building my site, selecting and editing my very best photos…

Within 2 weeks I’ll be making my photo site public for all to see!

Stay tuned…and give me your feedback once it’s live.

mom & BillTravel Update Florida: Here in Florida, the home owners are back!

My mom & step-dad are back from Thailand and my brother’s big Thai wedding. They had a great trip and really enjoyed Thai hospitality.

It’s great to see them again, of course…

But alas, it’s the end of clean counters. Lol

That’s ok, one day I’ll have my own house and it will be spic n span. :)

To each their own!

LashA Photography website screenshotNEWS: My new photography site will launch next week!

This week I’ll finish my final photo selections and tweek my site design.

…and, voila it will be live next week!

Get ready for my very best photos of gorgeous scenery, stunning towns, intriguing cultures and captivating faces from around the world…


You might also enjoy:

My 2017 Travel & Blogging Plans

9 Surprising Facts About Mexico City

LashA Photography Website


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